Thursday, March 16, 2006 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Diane and soldier escort that never left us during our stay in South Leyte Diane and soldier escort that never left us during our stay in South Leyte
Soldiers standing guard at clinic where Aloha Medical Mission worked Soldiers standing guard at clinic where Aloha Medical Mission worked
A typical village or “barangay” A typical village or “barangay”
Survivors in their room in the evacuation center Survivors in their room in the evacuation center
Kids at one evacuation center in Mahayahay village Kids at one evacuation center in Mahayahay village
The day began at 4 am again. We ate breakfast at 5 and began the long drive south to St. Bernard, where the evacuees are. We made 2 pit stops along the way in Baybay and somewhere else, to pick up a total of three more doctors. They are rural doctors and add to the number of translators that speak this dialect, Visayan.

Then we stopped in Sogod, the second largest municipality in the province, to meet the mayor and assess their hospital as the possible site of a permanent future partnership between AMM and the Sogod people. AMM deemed the hospital very good, better than expected.

Upon leaving Sogod I noticed a truck full of half a dozen soldiers talking to some AMM people and then speeding off ahead. I asked the travel coordinator what that was about, and she explained there is a threat of terrorism in this area from the "New Peoples Army," described as a communist guerilla group. Founded in the 70's to protest government corruption during the Marcos reign, the group gets into skirmishes with the Army regularly, always resulting in bloodshed. Though the government is the target, the rebels still visit violence upon ordinary people- hence the police escort. Either the Army or the National Police will stay with us until we return to Tacloban.

At 2 we finally arrived in St. Bernard, where the evacuees live. The medical team drove around and assessed potential sites to set up clinic. They also met with the mayor to discuss how the municipality can help AMM. Tim and I spent the time meeting survivors at the evacuee camp set up at Cristo Rey high school. Bit of a chaotic scene as the kids are having class under tents and the evacuees are living in the real classrooms, cooking in the hallways over real fires. It's so sad to hear their stories, we wonder how we'll react when we get to the landslide.

At 6 every evening there's a prayer mass, and I'm not sure what Tim said to the sister, but the next thing I know, she was penning him in as part of the post-mass entertainment. She had him down for a solo song. I was ready to shoot this video myself, but the group returned for us before it was Tim's turn.
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